San juan cruise ship terminal: New Pier and Terminal Coming to San Juan After Major Cruise Port Deal

New Pier and Terminal Coming to San Juan After Major Cruise Port Deal

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The world’s largest cruise port operator signs a deal to operate the San Juan Cruise Port in Puerto Rico, including huge investments.

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Render Courtesy: Global Ports Holding

Global Ports Holding has signed a 30-year concession with the San Juan Cruise Port in Puerto Rico. San Juan Cruise Port is currently a popular transit and homeport that needs serious investments to hold its place in the cruise industry. 

The agreement between Puerto Rico Ports Authority for San Cruise Port and Global Ports Holding, which is worth $75 million, ensures an additional investment of $100 million towards critical infrastructure projects. A second round of investments could be worth upwards of $250 million.

Currently, the world’s largest cruise port operator, Global Ports Holding Plc (GPH), has signed a concession agreement for a period of thirty years that will bring record-breaking investments to the San Juan Cruise port. The new partnership will go forward as the San Juan Cruise Port Ltd. (SJCP), bringing up to 425 million dollars in investments. 

San Juan is currently one of the busiest cruise ports in the Caribbean but needs serious investments to keep it at the current level. Therefore, the arrival of GPH is welcome news for Puerto Rico and the City of San Juan due to the millions of dollars the cruise port generates each year.

Global Ports Holding Chairman and CEO, Mehmet Kutman, said: “I welcome San Juan Cruise Port into the world’s largest cruise port network. The GPH team looks forward to working in partnership with all stakeholders to refurbish and reinvigorate this leading cruise port to create a world-leading cruise port experience for the benefit of all stakeholders.”

“Our work to transform this port will see hundreds of millions of US dollars invested into San Juan Cruise Port, all financed by private capital. Our plans include building a new cruise pier, a state-of-the-art cruise terminal, and significant enhancements to the public infrastructure.

As part of the deal, the number of docks currently capable of serving as homeport for four cruise ships at a time will double to eight. Docks battered by hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, and which have been worn down throughout the decades, will be modernized.

Not Everyone Satisfied

The new partnership has received significant criticism. With $5 billion worth of infrastructure at play, the initial $75 million investment that GPH is placing into the project seems insufficient.

However, with the state of the docks in San Juan presently, serious investments are needed. Something that the Puerto Rico Ports Authority is unable to do as it is $350 million in debt.

Photo Credit: NAPA / Shutterstock

Another problem is that Puerto Rico and San Juan are currently unable to welcome any of the super-large cruise ships with over 5,000 passengers on homeport calls. 

What Global Ports Holding will be able to offer Puerto Rico is a return to Pre-COVID numbers of arrivals, something which has proven hard to do, considering the difficult start-up period.

How Much Will Be Invested?

The Puerto Rico Ports Authority will receive $75 million in upfront concession fees from GPH. For an initial investment phase, GPH plans to invest approximately $100 million to repair and upgrade Piers 1 and 4 and the Pan American Pier.

There will be a second investment phase if specific pre-agreed criteria are met, including a return to pre-pandemic cruise passenger volumes. As part of this, GPH will invest approximately $250 million to build a new cruise pier and state-of-the-art homeport terminal capable of handling the largest cruise ships in the world.

Render Courtesy: Global Ports Holding

GPH will also invest in systems, equipment, and technology to enhance the cruise port’s operational performance and ensure environmental protection, safety, and security.

This fiscal year, officials expect more than 1 million passengers — roughly 80% of pre-pandemic traffic — with eight new cruise ships scheduled to visit the San Juan port for the first time.  

Once the investments have been completed, Global Ports Holdings expects San Juan to become the number three cruise port in its network of ports, which include Antigua, Singapore, and Nassau.

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Global Ports Holding Signs 30-Year Deal For San Juan Cruise Port


Global Ports Holding announced that it has signed a 30-year concession agreement with the Puerto Rico Ports Authority for San Cruise Port, Puerto Rico, following a competitive procurement process managed by the Puerto Rico Public-Private Partnership Authority, according to a press release.

The announcement was made locally by Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierluisi in a ceremony and press conference featuring other government of Puerto Rico officials, high-ranking GPH executives, Island private sector representatives and tourism and cruise industry stakeholders, including senior representatives from cruise lines.

On completion, San Juan Cruise Port, which handled 1.8m unique passengers in 2019, will become the third-largest cruise port in GPH’s global network, the company said in a statement. 

Under the concession agreement terms, GPH will pay an upfront concession fee of $75 million to the Puerto Rico Ports Authority. During an initial investment phase, GPH will spend approximately $100 million, primarily focused on critical infrastructure repairs at Piers 1 and 4 and Pan American Piers, and upgrades of the terminal buildings and the walkway.

The second investment phase will commence subject to certain pre-agreed criteria, including cruise passenger volumes recovering to pre-pandemic levels. In this phase, GPH will invest an estimated $250 million in expanding the capacity of the cruise port by building a completely new cruise pier and state-of-the-art homeport terminal capable of handling the world’s largest cruise ships at Piers 11 and 12.

As well as investing in the port’s infrastructure, GPH will invest in modernizing the cruise port experience for cruise passengers, cruise lines and local vendors and will use its global expertise and operating model to improve the management of the cruise port operations.

GPH will also invest in systems, equipment, and technology to enhance the cruise port’s operational performance and ensure environmental protection, safety, and security.

Subject to the satisfaction of the closing conditions, including financing conditions, the concession’s financial close and commencement of operations are expected to occur by early 2023.

Global Ports Holding Chairman and CEO, Mehmet Kutman, said: «I am delighted that the Government of Puerto Rico has selected GPH for this public-private partnership to improve and expand San Juan Cruise Port. The addition of this fantastic location to our cruise port network marks a further important step in our growth strategy and will grow cruise passenger volumes across our network to over 16 million passengers per annum.

«I welcome San Juan Cruise Port into the world’s largest cruise port network. The GPH team looks forward to working in partnership with all stakeholders to refurbish and reinvigorate this leading cruise port to create a world-leading cruise port experience for the benefit of all stakeholders.

:Our work to transform this port will see hundreds of millions of US dollars invested into San Juan Cruise Port, all financed by private capital. Our plans include building a new cruise pier, a state-of-the-art cruise terminal, and significant enhancements to the public infrastructure.”

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ᐈ Cruise-Life Blog

The island of Puerto Rico is located in the northern part of the Caribbean Sea, at the junction of the chains of the Lesser and Greater Antilles, being the smallest and easternmost island in the Greater Antilles group. It is washed by the Atlantic Ocean in the north and the Caribbean Sea in the south (the total length of the coastline is 501 km).

San Juan is one of the largest cruise ports in the world. In 2018 it was visited by 1.187.700 passengers.

The capital of Puerto Rico has 2 cruise ship moorings. The Old San Juan Cruise Terminal is located in the city center. Most transit liners moor there. But ships whose route starts from San Juan use the Pan American Pier terminal. Its location is worse, but it is closer to the airport. There is a direct connection between the airport and the Old San Juan Cruise Terminal.

San Juan is a modern city with the characteristics of an American metropolis. However, behind the shiny facades of the new buildings, the historical features of the Spanish heritage are perfectly traced.

San Juan is divided into two parts: old and new. The Old Town is an open-air museum that surprises with its unique architecture. Outside the boundaries of the old city, there are private houses and elite suburbs, as well as a resort area with a luxurious Isla Verde beach.

TOP must-see places in San Juan:

Old San Juan

The entire Old Town, literally saturated with buildings and structures of the 16th-17th centuries, is now the National Historic Zone and the main point of attraction for numerous tourists. The old city is most like an open-air museum, where the darkened buildings of the Spanish colonial era are collected. Visitors will be delighted with the cobbled streets of Old San Juan and will want to stay for a while to check out the little restaurants and shops that dot the street. Bacardi Rum Factory The Bacardi factory in San Juan is one of the largest rum factories in the world. The Bacardi company was originally founded in 1862 by Don Facundo Bacardi Masso in the city of Santiago de Cuba, and 75 years later it was recreated in San Juan. Visitors to the factory can enjoy an interactive historical journey, get to know the history of the brand and the features of family production. They will see the process of rum production and a demonstration of making cocktails with rum. All visitors are certainly invited to taste the drink in a special tropical pavilion. There is a shop at the factory where visitors can buy memorable souvenirs and real rum.

Botanical Garden

The San Juan Botanical Garden is also known as the University of Puerto Rico Botanical Garden. It is an educational center for scientific research and a place for excellent rest and relaxation. Its territory, with an area of ​​121 hectares, serves to study and preserve more than 30 thousand local and exotic plants, trees, flowers. The territory is divided into two parts — northern and southern, the latter contains most of the sights. In the south you can see the garden of heliconias, orchids, palms, herbarium. Entrance to the botanical garden is free from 6 am to 6 pm. Fort San Cristobal Fort San Cristobal is the largest fort built in the 17th century by the Spaniards in America. This majestic fort was built between 1634-1790 years and originally covered an area of ​​27 acres (this is the largest fortification site built by the Spaniards in the New World). Today, tourists are free to explore its labyrinthine structures and almost six kilometers of secret tunnels, moats, and battlefield dungeons, built into the depths of 45-meter walls, which offer a beautiful panorama of San Juan and its bays. Fuerte San Cristobal is a National Historic Monument and is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

San Jose Square

The influence of historical events on the city is visible to the naked eye, but it is especially striking in San José Square. This stunning place has become a meeting point for tourists and locals alike, and it should be noted that this is one of the first places you should visit in the capital of Puerto Rico. For the first time, you will definitely be amazed by the huge bronze statue of Ponce de Leon, which is located right in the center of the square.

Pigeon`s Park

Nature lovers should definitely visit the «Park of the Pigeons», known to the locals as «Parque de la Palomas». In this park, you can enjoy great views of the city, including views of the crowded harbor and the beautiful mountains that surround Puerto Rico’s capital. Among other things, the park offers a view of La Princesa prison, a notorious place of confinement, which is now a historical museum.

Unlike neighboring islands, the old San Juan has been perfectly preserved in its original form, thanks to the efforts of local cultural figures who have achieved a ban on new buildings and the fact that any restoration work, even in private mansions, must be coordinated with the Institute of Culture .

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Travel By Sea And By Air

The coastline of the Dominican Republic is one of the longest and most diverse in the Caribbean — over 1600 km. The coastal landscape combines rugged mountains, coconut groves, valleys and plains, white sandy beaches, turquoise seas and offshore coral reefs. Over the past few years, the number of seaports offering a full range of services has doubled, some of which are unique in the entire Caribbean region and are a huge hit with sport fishermen and yachtsmen.

Arriving procedure

Upon arrival at one of the ports, you may expect the following:

  1. Potential inspection of the vessel by the Coast Guard ( Marina de Guerra), by the M-2 Intelligence Service and the Drug Enforcement Division. They reserve the right to stop your ship and inspect it. At the same time, they may ask you to conduct an inspection in the below-deck areas. You will not be charged an additional fee, the services of these services are paid by the seaports.
  2. Visit of the ship by the Immigration Service to stamp the passports of the crew members (in this case, as a rule, there is a flat fee). In addition, each passenger on the ship must pay US$10 to receive a tourist card valid for 30 days.

Please note that in order to move the vessel to another official port of entry, prior authorization is required — « despacho» . It is issued free of charge, but it has become customary to tip the Coast Guard for good service.

Some marinas charge fees for the use of the harbor, such as waste disposal or anchorage. For more information, contact the port of your choice.

Anchorage

A boater may anchor along the route before entering the next official harbor or «despacho» for good reason. The owner of each yacht must present all necessary documents to the checking officer. This service is free, but a small tip to the officer and the captain who brought him to the ship is considered the norm.

Seaport selection

Choose the port that suits your needs and individual needs from Punta Cana, Samana, Santo Domingo, La Romana or Puerto Plata North.

Cap Can Yacht Marina

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Cap Can Yacht Marina is the most modern coastal facility in the Caribbean, offering mooring and service for yachts up to 45 meters in length. The 1.5 km marina 2 is especially popular among fishing enthusiasts for the opportunity to catch blue and white marlin, sailfish, wahoo and tuna in the surrounding waters at any time of the year.

Puntacana Resort & Club